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Payson balks at UTOPIA funding agreement

PAYSON — City officials are balking at the latest effort to raise more money for UTOPIA.

Five cities that are part of the 11-city consortium attempting to bring fiber-optic cable to homes and business have formed a new entity, the Utah Infrastructure Agency, with plans to borrow up to $65 million for the project in yet another round of funding.

However, the Payson City Council balked Wednesday at the proposed interlocal agreement that would let the new agency's board set the assessment without council approval. The City Council also wants its vote to count equally with other, larger cities.

The five cities already in the new agency are West Valley City, Lindon, Orem, Layton and Midvale. The Payson City Council tabled the request to join until its Aug. 4 meeting.

City officials fear that if they don't join the Utah Infrastructure Agency, services Payson now receives would not be expanded. Only 30 percent of the city is served by UTOPIA.

The city is committed to paying $259,000 annually for the next 17 years to the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency, with member cities running north to south along the Wasatch Front. The total portion the Utah Infrastructure Agency is seeking from Payson is an additional $30,000 over a period of years.

— Rodger L. Hardy